By Tracey Haney/Managing editor

*Picking the President is a semester-long series focusing on the presidential election and its impact on Eastern.

With the presidential election only a few months away, two Eastern students had the opportunity to attend the Republican National Convention, held Aug. 30-Sept. 3 in New York City nominating current president, George W. Bush, for re-election.

Donna Hill, a senior elementary education major from Richmond, and James Bushnell, a junior political science major from Harlan, were selected as a part of the Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars to attend the convention.

Hill, who helps with local election polling, said she first became aware of the opportunity to attend the convention from a flier on campus.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” Hill said of attending the convention, adding the financial help of the Washington Center was the only way she would have been able to go.

Hill, who currently has a degree in history, said she’s always been interested in politics and hopes to spark the political interest of her students.

“I hope to use a lot of my experience in the classroom,” Hill said. “I hope to be able to have the students read a newspaper and have them keep up with current events.”

Hill said her favorite part of the convention was listening to the speakers.

“It’s really energizing,” Hill said. “You felt like you were part of a group.”

Bushnell, who has aided in several political campaigns, including those of Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher and Bush’s presidential campaign, said his favorite part of the convention was also listening to the speeches, especially those of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Arizona Senator John McCain, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenneger, Democratic Georgia Senator Zell Miller and Bush.

“(The convention) got crazy at times,” Bushnell said. “You got a lot more excited with so many people cheering.”

Both Hill and Bushnell encourage students to get involved with the November election and politics in general.

“Voting is the best way to express yourself,” Bushnell said, adding many candidates don’t bother to appeal to the needs of young people because not a big percentage actually vote.

Bushnell, current president of Eastern’s College Republicans group, said he is planning to start an Eastern chapter of the bipartisan Youth ’04 group to “get out the vote.”

“Regardless of who you support you should always get involved,” he said.

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